19:15 GMT29 October 2020
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    An international team of scientists, together with researchers at the National Research Technological University MISiS (NUST MISiS), has synthesized a material for reconstructive surgery from blue mussel shells (Mytilus edulis).

    According to the researchers, the material is safe and has high antibacterial properties. The study results were published in the Ceramics International journal.

    Implant infections remain one of the main problems facing reconstructive surgery today. This problem can be solved by creating biomaterials with antibacterial activity, Evgeny Kolesnikov, the co-author of the study, a researcher at the Department of Functional Nanosystems and High-Temperature Materials at Russia's National University of Science and Technology (NUST/MISIS), says.

    “Hydroxyapatite, the main mineral component of bones and teeth, is the top choice material to create new bone tissue or replace damaged bones. This material is biocompatible and bioactive; it can easily integrate into bone tissue and adjacent tissue areas. Hydroxyapatite is able to interact with osteoblasts, and positively induces their growth and division,” he said.
    Evgeny Kolesnikov examines common cockle shells
    © Photo : NUST MISIS/Sergey Gnuskov
    Evgeny Kolesnikov examines common cockle shells

    Hydroxyapatite is currently used in maxillofacial surgery, dentistry and orthopaedics to make fillers and coatings. To produce hydroxyapatite, scientists from different countries use eggshells, coral, fish bones and other raw materials. However, its mass production is still a difficult task due to the complex process of synthesis.

    Fayette A Reynolds M.S. / Berkshire Community College Bioscience Image Library
    A team of Indian, Russian, and South Korean scientists, headed by the former postdoctoral fellow and visiting professor at NUST/MISIS Dr. Gopalu Karunakaran announced that it may soon be possible to easily and quickly produce environmentally-friendly magnesium-doped mesoporous hydroxyapatite nanorods from biowaste, namely blue mussel shells (Mytilus edulis), through microwave synthesis using polyvinylpyrrolidone.

    According to researchers, they have obtained hydroxyapatite particles that can be used in implantation. To prevent possible infections of the implant, these particles are laced with magnesium ions.

    “We opted for magnesium because its ions are biocompatible and antimicrobial. The body of an average adult contains 24g of magnesium. A lack of this micro-element in the body can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and osteoporosis,” Evgeny Kolesnikov explained.
    Evgeny Kolesnikov examines common cockle shells
    © Photo : NUST MISIS/Sergey Gnuskov
    Evgeny Kolesnikov examines common cockle shells

    The scientists tested the obtained material’s toxicity in zebrafish embryos, where it has proved to be non-toxic in nature. According to researchers, this allows using the new material to be used in medicine to manufacture implants.

    Tags:
    shells, material, surgery, scientists
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